Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fight restaurant cravings by making restaurant meals at home

One way I've found to keep my eating out in control is to figure out how to make some of my favorite restaurant dishes at home. Sure, they probably won't taste quite as good. And part of the enjoyment of eating out is not having to do all the darn work to make it! But, at least for me, another reason I'm often lured into eating out instead of eating in is that I'm craving a particular favorite dish.

So I've tried to experiment with making these favorites myself. Of course this doesn't always work. In some cases, the pleasure is not in the dish itself but how well it's executed. And in other cases, like my beloved Chicago-style deep dish spinach stuffed pizza from Giordano's, recreating the taste would be incredibly complicated and still likely fall short. But there's certainly a place for this approach.

For me, one example is enchiladas. I used to go out for Mexican a lot because I love cheese enchiladas and I had no idea how to make decent-tasting ones at home. I'd attempted it once with a store-bought sauce and it was terrible, and that put me off trying for awhile. So when I was in the mood for enchiladas, I'd tell myself, "Tonight's a night to go out to a Mexican restaurant."

But eventually-- I think it was actually one night when I was home and had changed into comfy clothes and the weather was lousy and I didn't want to go out anywhere-- I pushed myself to find an enchilada recipe I could make at home and be happy with. So I searched around the internet, and I experimented, and I found a recipe I really enjoyed. So now when I'm in the mood for enchiladas, I have the option of making cheap and tasty ones myself at home, and that's usually what I choose.

So am I the only one who gets tempted out to restaurants by the prospect of specific delicious dishes? And who tries to find ways to recreate them at home instead? Heck, if there's actually a lot of us, we could even have a recipe swap...

8 comments:

Kira said...

I've gotten to the point where I don't eat some foods at restaurants because they don't make them exactly the way my boyfriend does, and therefore not as good (such as chicken wings and bacon.) Most of the time, if I can't figure out how to make a food that I like at restaurants at home, it's mostly because I like to go out for Asian food that has ingredients in it that I couldn't identify in a store. =) (Nor would it have an English label on it.) I do try to do that though - a while back I bought a slow cooker so I could make pork in a similar manner to Uno's Chicago Grill pork sticks.

Madame X said...

You should check out this cookbook, which tells you how to make fast food restaurant items at home, with healthier ingredients...

HC said...

Madame X found my link.

There's also a series of slightly-less-healthful make-your-own books here.

Penny Nickel said...

Oh, that cookbook looks great, Madame X! And it's even at the public library! I will have to check it out and report back...

The Divine Miss M said...

Check out this site - I think they're the people behind one of the receommended cookbooks!

http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/recipes.asp

Cindy Murphy said...

Guess I must be gettin' old, I actually like my own home cooking more and more these days. I've reserved the book at my library that madame x is recommending (wow, there are 8 other people before me, sounds like we're not the only ones interested). I even like my own homemade desserts better. Guess it pays not to go out much, you don't get hooked on stuff and crave it.

The Divine Miss M said...

I left a comment the other day and I included the wrong website! Sorry!

This is the FREE site with the restaurant recipes, not the one I already posted.

http://www.copykat.com/

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

I just posted about this stuff on my blog, bu the curry sauces at www.currysimple.com are unbelievably good. They're made in Thailand and packaged in MRE containers before being sent to the US, so they taste fresh and fantastic. We load them up with veggies and get our Thai fix at home in less than half an hour.

And no, they are not paying me in any way! :)